I figured since it’s almost that turkey time of the year in the U.S., I’d recap our never-before-written-about short vacation to the country of Turkey back in October of 2020.

The trip in 2020 wasn’t our first visit to Turkey, it was our third to be exact, but this one was the one we were glad for the most since it was amid the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of which both Ania and I were to find out first-hand a couple of months later.

I never really understood people who revisited the same place for vacation more than once, but I do now. Not only did we return to Turkey for the 3rd time in 2020, but we returned to the same resort while earning some bonus upgrades for doing so, of course.

2020 was an exhausting year full of frustration and angst. Ania’s hospital was converted to a COVID-only hospital practically overnight, I was laid off due to company downsizing as it struggled to keep projects open while everything around was shutting down. I was lucky to have some great people around me and was able to get a new job that same week, but losing a job for the first time in my life was quite stressful, to say the least.

So, relaxing at a place we knew well, in a city and general area we felt comfortable in, was just what the doc had ordered. And that’s why I now understand folks that return to the same locations; the familiarity of things that allow you to simply relax is truly priceless. With that in mind, we gained a new appreciation for the one place within our complex we never ever stopped by before, the swimming pool. Why would we spend hours by the pool when the resort had a seaside beach bar and empty beach beds? Well, because the pool felt much quieter and relaxing. Perfect for beer and Kindle reading and hidden from the wind blowing in from the sea.

The city of our destination was Side, an ancient city founded in 7th century BC. A Wikipedia link for historical info is HERE but as you can see from our photos the area is a rich archeological site with the Temple of Apollo standing tall as its main attraction.
Side, and the general area from Antalya to Alanya covering some 130km (~65miles) looks and feels kinda like Vegas with all the sand and desert-like scenery, with thousands of hotels and resorts, some of which could give Vegas a run for its money.

One of our favorite pastimes while on vacation in Side is taking a small bus known as a dolmus (DOHL-moosh) to a nearby city of Manavgat and walking through an actual everyday Turkish life. Sure you will also get the usual touristy heckling “my friend” but if you walk just past it, real Turkish markets appear with awesome colors, smells, and fruit that we can’t get in Poland.

Hidden just among these markets are also local food spots that aren’t exactly on any tourist maps, but welcome any wonderers just the same if not more once they finally arrive. We found such a place on Google Maps by sheer luck and reviews and decided to walk a little into the unknown to have a feast seen here on photos. The owner of the place took photos with us, basically told us not to bother with the menus as food just kept on coming, and the price felt very much adequate to the amount of stuff we had on the table. The kicker? The owners’ cousin has a best-in-town kebab place in the south of Poland.

The purpose of the trip was to take a break, and that we did…almost. Every time we’ve been there we have taken a day trip to some nearby, or not, place. But more on that in future posts. For now, I will end by saying that had some unfortunate events not messed up 2021, we’d be there a 4th time for the same exact reason this year. To simply relax away from the reality of life.